For thousands of years, healers have used herbs for medicinal purposes. In fact, many active ingredients in today’s popular medications come from herbs.
Like other plant foods, herbs have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents that help protect us from chronic disease. Plus, they’re high in vitamins and minerals. For example, basil and oregano are good sources of vitamin K and iron whereas dill and mint help soothe heartburn and an upset stomach.
Want more? Herbs have antibacterial and antifungal properties, meaning they help fight unwanted bacteria and yeast in the body thus supporting a healthy gut microbiota.
Herbs are rarely considered “roughage” or “high fiber” so they’re great additions for people on low fiber, low roughage diets looking to gain the unique health benefits from plants.
Adding herbs to your favorite dishes adds flavor, fragrance and nutrients without adding unwanted fat, calories or sodium. Here are a few ideas for including more fresh and dried herbs in your diet:
Greek for “joy of the mountain”
- Add leaves to casseroles, sauces, stews, stuffing, olives, tea and chili
- Pairs very well with chicken, lamb, and egg dishes
- Make oregano flavored olive oil by adding a few sprigs of fresh oregano to oil
Derived from the word fumigate because of its sweet smell
- Flavor eggs and omelets
- Add to hearty beans
- Top fish with sprigs of thyme
Season soups and stocks
Nicknamed the “Royal Herb”
- Make homemade pesto
- Add a few basil leaves to your favorite rice recipe
- Flavor fish, chicken, vegetables and meat dishes
Means to calm or soothe
- Eat dill pickles
- Add to scrambled eggs
- Sprinkle on salmon fillets with fresh lemon before baking
- Flavor homemade potato salad or coleslaw
- Combine with Greek yogurt for a healthy dill dip for vegetables or pita chips
“Dew of the sea”
- Flavor olive oil to use with breads, potatoes and vegetables
- Use sprigs for roasting, baking or grilling lamb, pork, fish or chicken
- Cut up leaves and top roasted potatoes, squash, parsnips or tomatoes
- Add to lentils, beans or stews
- Sprinkle on your scrambled eggs, omelets and frittatas*Use only a small amount because it’s quite powerful